Collaboration is Key

When Rod and Donna Gibbs contemplated their retirement, it meant leaving the San Francisco Bay Area. After considering the West Coast, Seattle and Austin, they found the winning location in Cordillera Ranch and the winning builder in Stadler Custom Homes. 

By Cheryl Van Tuyl Jividen  ::  Photography by Joy Bottjer

The community, ensconced in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, met all of the couple’s requirements for relocating and building their dream home. “My top priority was acreage to build a woodworking shop,” says Rod. For Donna it was a trifecta. “There was proximity to the city for doses of civilization, good schools and no snow.” 

In finding a custom home builder they did their research, met with several and ultimately made their choice. Established 24 years ago by Ray Stadler, Stadler Custom Homes — a leading custom home builder in San Antonio and the Hill Country — is known for their superior quality, workmanship and attention to detail. “We were most impressed with Ray Stadler. He had a great reputation, ideas, experience and a vision that complemented ours,” says Donna. 

The couple found the ideal nearly seven-acre, wedge-shaped lot at the end of a cul-de-sac. “This affords plenty of privacy from our neighbors on both sides,” says Donna. Heavily treed with oaks and persimmons, Donna adds, “There is a perfect balance of trees and openness.” The natural downward slope provides seclusion and an elevated long view of the backyard with its open meadow and dry creek bed, a favorite grazing area for herds of deer. The Gibbs cite Stadler’s expertise in developing an advantageous plan to use the slope for privacy, water runoff, dimensionality, view and as a guide point for a tiered outdoor entertaining area that includes a deck around an infinity edge pool and courtyard.  

The Gibbs came with a wish list of ideas they hadn’t had but desired in former homes including more space in their garages, laundry room, master bath, closets and storage rooms, but also technical features like insulation and soundproofing. They also gave thoughtful consideration to the future, “We incorporated features in anticipation of our increasing ages. A single level was a given. We included wide halls and doorways with an open floor plan especially in the important rooms like the kitchen and family room. Most bathrooms and some showers are large enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Also, some small but sometimes overlooked aids like higher counters in kitchen and bathrooms to prevent backaches from bending over and comfort toilets, too.”  

Very experienced with a variety of home styles, Stadler Custom Homes encompass traditional, contemporary, eclectic, French country, transitional, Mediterranean, and farmhouse designs. “We toured several of Stadler’s completed homes and we were impressed by the high quality and upgraded finishes,” says Rod. “We gravitated to the Mediterranean style because of the finishes and openness. We liked the relaxed, simple, romantic and rustic feel. We also focused on a central courtyard to bring the outdoors inside with views of bright floral colors, our pool and sunlight,” says Donna. 

Wrapped in richly hued, locally sourced natural stone and hand-troweled stucco, the beautiful luxury home includes four bedrooms and six bathrooms. Other amenities serve the family well, “With kids still at home, the game room and screened outdoor patio get lots of use. We love to entertain so we use our kitchen, dining room, butler’s pantry and outdoor patio much more as our kids get older. We both have offices for a little bit of our own space and privacy,” says Donna. Rod’s coveted woodworking shop is separate with its own kitchen and bathroom.

Rod’s love of cooking influenced the kitchen design and appliances. “We wanted to emulate a ‘caterer’s kitchen’ with side-by-side ‘armoire’ paneled SubZero® refrigerators and freezer drawers and a Scotsman® ice maker. There’s a Wolf® range with six burners and a grill cooktop, two ovens and a supplemental Wolf wall oven, and microwave unit and warming drawer. A pair of KitchenAid® dishwashers and a Kohler® pot water filler round out the meal preparation space,” he says. Cabinets made by Michael Edwards Custom Cabinetry are custom stained with a clear coating. A circular kitchen nook showcases a 12-facet ceiling and matching tile floor and affords a view of the backyard and pool. 

Woodworker Rod used his talents to create the wainscoting in the dining room. The family room opens to the kitchen and features a natural rock fireplace, stained bookcases and a barrel ceiling. A rock wall with stained glass cabinets highlight the bar area of the game room. The Gibbs had assistance with finishes, materials and furnishings. “We needed guidance and resources for our first custom home. I was especially intimidated by all the overwhelming construction selections, so we worked with a wonderful designer, Class, Covers & Color, Inc., referred by Stadler. Our steady working relationship with both of them in building and designing homes made the process easier,” says Donna. 

The house has been all that they hoped for says Donna. “It was certainly meant to be our dream home. It kept growing to fit in all of our dream amenities, so we ended up upsizing. We still have kids at home for at least another five years so having additional space is not a bad thing! We will re-evaluate downsizing once we’re empty nesters.”

In the end, both parties describe the process as collaborative and enjoyable. “Ray was very involved in meeting with us on each visit before and during the building processes. He shared his thoughts and vision with obvious care about meeting our needs and managing costs. He attended all of our architectural design meetings to help that process as well. He often proved to be a great problem solver to make an idea a reality,” says Rod. Donna concurs, “He was able to talk to me in layman terms to make me feel part of the process, and was well versed in the industry. He was always friendly and a pleasure to interact with on site and in meetings.”  

Delighted by the Gibb’s experience and kind words, Ray says, “We tailor our communication approach to each client’s needs, with face-to-face interaction and collaborative technology. Our process meticulously evaluates each home from start to finish with extensive checkpoints throughout all stages of construction. We take great pride in the quality of our homes and the happiness of our customers. Details truly make the difference.”

Stadler Custom Homes

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